Accept who and what you are.

Standards of Behavior

As it says in the About Me page, the domain name of this website is from something my dad used to say. “I’m not crazy, I’m just nuts.”

Today is Father’s day, so I thought I’d talk about mine.

Dad worked a lot of hard manual labor and he provided for us in the best way he could. I don’t have many childhood memories of him because he was always working or working on something. Most of my memories come from after I was an adult and his health and mental state went bad. His illness tainted our relationship.

When Dad’s bi-polar disorder kicked up, he would be in the manic phase for months until they could get his meds regulated to normalize him. During his manic phases, our relationship was pretty rough.

I used the words “we don’t get along” when I described our relationship to a friend I knew at the hospital, but one of the paramedics that had just transported Dad corrected me.

“Don’t let her fool you. He hates her.”

Dad hated me because I held him to a certain set of standards and would not compromise or lower them. Ever. I set my standards for his behavior and made sure he knew what they were. Then I made him comply with them.

At one point, he was in a nursing home and had a doctor’s appointment. My schedule wouldn’t allow me to pick him up, so the social worker brought him to the appointment, but I was the one who was talking to the doctor.

During the visit, Dad got agitated, loud, and was ramping up his behavior. I sent him to the waiting room while I finished talking to the doctor. On the way out, I stopped to do the paperwork. They requested Dad’s identification and I asked him for it.

Dad was still agitated. In his mind, he was going to be forced to have surgery which had been mentioned, but was not actually an option. He was defensive and excited and for some reason he thought I would keep his ID. His behavior was getting in the way of getting things handled and I said one word.

“Sit.”

It seems like a little word written out like that, but I have been told I channel a drill instructor sometimes.

When I said, “sit,” he sat. No questions, no argument, no hesitation. Instant compliance, because I said it with authority. It was how he had taught me to deal with him when he was agitated. It was the only way to get him to do what I wanted.

The social worker, whom I had already decided was a pansy ass bleeding heart, did not like this. She thought my tone of voice was abusive and called a meeting to discuss it. I took my mother in her wheelchair and another nursing home employee attended as a witness.

Dad got excited within a minute. The rest of the time was spent with the social worker repeating his name over and over again, trying to get him to listen to her.

My Dad was ill, but he could behave himself when it suited him. He demonstrated this when my brother took him to the hospital for an involuntary mental evaluation. The doctor didn’t see the problem because Dad behaved himself the whole three hours they were at the hospital. The moment they were in the car on the way home, not so much.

The social worker, didn’t understand how to handle Dad. She approached him in her touchy feely way and wasn’t smart enough to see that approach didn’t work with him. As she said Dad’s name for the fourth or fifth time, I cast a little smile at Mom.

She smiled back. One word from me and Dad would pipe down.

I didn’t say it. I watched. I found it amusing to watch the woman try the soft and gentle approach with a man who didn’t recognize or respond to either. They finally had to talk him into leaving the room. Again, one word from me and he would have sat down and been quite.

The social worker explained that she thought my way was abusive. I told her Dad didn’t respond to softer approaches as had so clearly been demonstrated a few seconds before and his behavior at the doctor’s office was unacceptable.

She argued, “But your father has a disease.”

“Yes, he does,” I responded. “But that disease is a reason for his behavior, not an excuse. I’m not going to lower my standards because he’s sick.”

The social worker thought I was being mean to him, abusing him. But it wasn’t true. My father was the aggressor in every encounter we had.

He’d start it, but I finished it.

When he raised a hand against me, he learned not to do it again. Sometimes, he learned the hard way. He ended up on the floor at least once, and I remember facing him down with a fist cocked when he made a move to slap me. I went toe-to-toe with him every time he tried something with Mom or my cat as well.

He learned I wouldn’t tolerate the abusive behavior and he modified his actions to suit. Dad hated me because I held him to a higher standard, but he behaved himself and respected me because I did.

I don’t hate my dad. I didn’t like him very much, but I never hated him. His disease tainted our relationship, but that relationship is why I am the way I am. His lessons were also my lessons. He is a part of me and always will be. Warts and all.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

How many times have you seen people lowering standards for someone who has trouble meeting them? When do we stop lowering them and start expecting people to live up to them?

Find your own rhythm.

Rise of the Machines

Dr. Robert K. Cooper, in his book Get Out of Your Own Way, says:

“But a clock-based sense of time has literally made its way into our bodies and brains. For example, if we sleep in a room where a clock ticks, our hearts adjust their beating to the ticking of the clock: sixty beats a minute instead of the more desirable thirty or forty beats that we would experience if the heart found its own rhythm- and which would be much better for deep rest and restoration.

“Our innate rhythmic orientation goes haywire when the clock takes over. We worry when we’re late, we space out when we’re early. Life becomes about keeping time instead of living to the fullest.”

I read that and thought, “Holy crap! The machines are controlling us!”

I eyed the cheap ticking clock I had sitting a few feet away and thought about the number of times I had glanced at it in the past hour. I thought about my sleep pattern and how I seldom felt rested when I got up. Then there were the days that I had to get up before I wanted and felt dopey and spaced out the whole day.

I swear I heard a mechanical voice whisper, “Resistance is futile.”

Since reading Cooper’s book, I have been aware that anytime I have to be somewhere at a specific time, my stress level ramps up. It doesn’t matter that I left forty-five minutes early for a drive that takes less than thirty. I worry that I am going to be late. I check the clock, sometimes five or six times in under a minute.

I am scheduled to work tonight, hours from now, and I have just checked the clock three times in the last three minutes. This behavior annoys me now I’m aware of why I’m doing it and I have been taking steps to eliminate the clock from my life.

I’ve stopped timing myself when I meditate or walk, nor do I measure the distance. Right now, I’m working on getting into a job that allows me to set my own schedule to do what I want, when I want, and where I want, so I can ignore the clock altogether.

Cooper says, “We take working by the clock for granted now as the model of how businesses should be run. But even in recent American history, that model was vehemently rejected. In the 1860s, New England textile mills began harnessing the power of steam engines to drive mass-production looms. To make the most of that technology, it was necessary to ensure reliable attendance by the mill workers, so the owners of the mill posted a new set of rules: All weavers were to enter the plant at the same time, after which the gates would be locked until the end of the workday.

“Deeply offended by what they called a “system of slavery,” the weavers – who until then had worked whatever hours they pleased – went on strike. The rules were withdrawn, and it was not until several years later that they could be successfully reintroduced.”

Well if that is the case, and Dr. Cooper cites his sources, why did it stop being slavery? What changed?

The answer to that: perspective. The worker’s perspectives changed because someone convinced them it was okay to give up a little of their freedom for a pay check.

Giving up that little bit of freedom didn’t help the mill workers. They were doing fine before. The people it helped were the mill owners and investors. The people with money who wanted more money and were willing to compromise some freedoms to get it.

The problem is, those mill workers passed those chains down to their children who passed them to us. We didn’t have a choice in the matter since we didn’t know any better and we accepted them without protest because that is they way it’s always been. After all what’s a little slavery if it makes the shareholders happy?

The clock’s subtle tick, tick, tick stopped being part of the background noise. I glared at it. Then I got up and pulled the batteries.

If Captain Picard could get out of their clutches, then so can I.

If it causes stress let it go.

Dropping Weight

I got up this morning and decided to weigh myself. This, in the past, has been a disappointing experience and inclined to set me up for a touch of depression.

Not this morning though. This morning I had dropped ten pounds. Ten pounds in seven days to be exact. HaPpY dAnCe!

I can hear your thoughts, “Oh, that’s bad. She probably has diabetes or something.”

No I don’t. What I do have in insight or as I prefer to write it In-sight. I’ve learned to listen to my body, to hear the messages it has been trying to get through for years. You know, those ones we are taught to ignore or to consider bad.

Over the past week I have noticed several things. One, I am drinking huge amount of water. Two, I have been feeling energized and optimistic. Three, I’m sweating more. Four, my diet has changed and not because of any conscious effort on my part. Five, I’m getting out of the house for daily walks. Sometimes two. Six, I’m ignoring the clock.

I’ll take these one at a time.

Water. I realized last week that I had increased my water consumption. It wasn’t anything intentional on my part, I just became aware of it. I thought about it and my first thought was, “Of course. I have to wash the toxins out.”

Those first thoughts are key. They are the purest. After that, influences from outside start tainting things.

Energized and optimistic. I have broken free from the cycle I’ve been living. The cycle of fear, depression, and helplessness. I have hope. Naturally, I’m going to be energized.

Sweat. It’s summer. I’m drinking more water, I’m going to sweat. But it also indicates my metabolism is up. I’m also moving more, with daily walks, yoga, and the photographic wanders. I’m burning fat, so I’m going to sweat.

Diet. I’ve done this before. When I go though these periods of meditation and In-sight, my diet changes. I stop eating out all together. I notice the foods I do choose are few ingredients and no chemicals. Simple, natural, and healthy. They are not labeled that way. They just are.

Walking. The walks give me time to think, to make connections I normally wouldn’t have time to make. This blog is another way I do that. Things come to me while I’m writing and while I’m walking and they just make sense. I accept them as fact and figure out how this new information changes my perspective on things.

Clocks. This will be addressed in the next post it got too big for this one.

All of these things reduce my stress and I’ve been dropping weight from my shoulders that happens to be showing up on the scale.

What little bits of stress can you drop?

I have turned off the comments section. The spam was one stress I didn’t need.

Break away from what you were. Become what you are meant to be.

Enough and Nothing More

Everyday, I get a new lesson. The method varies, but many times it seems to be the writing of these posts. When I sit down to write, things come into focus.

This is how the lesson came to me today.

I have been taking a lot of pictures lately and have been using both the JPG and RAW setting on my camera. My thought process when I started this, was that I would keep the RAW so I could make changes to it later, but I used the JPG images to create the inspirational posts because I can crop them in MS Paint.

RAW files are huge and each one uses up tons of memory. I filled up my SD cards and have been thinking about buying more. Then I went through one of the SDs to free memory for today’s photos and realized I don’t need more SD cards. I need to clear what I will never use and change the settings so I only take only what I need.

When I create the images you see on this site, I don’t alter anything. I use MS paint to crop and write the words. I decided at some point that I would not alter them in any other way. I want the image pure and free of the meddlesome hand of man.

I’ve thought about buying an image editing software so I can watermark the images and fancy up the script, but a meditation message from last week keeps coming back to me.

Enough and nothing more.

This message came to me before I started the posts. It is what started all of this. It was my divine spark.

I have enough to do the job The Universe has given me. I have enough knowledge, skills, and resources to change the world for the better with what I already have. I don’t need to buy anything. It doesn’t need to be bigger, better, fancier. I need to use what I have.

What amazes me when I make the inspirational images is that when I start out, what I want usually isn’t want I need.

Today, I wanted an image that said, “What you need is inside you.” I have a sweet potato that is sprouting on the table. I’ve never done anything with it except move it to the table where it would get more light. I glanced at it while I was writing and thought the potato was a perfect metaphor for what I wanted to get across.

I carted the spud outside and took some pictures of it. I wasn’t happy with the lighting. The sun is shining today and the images I capture are best done when it is cloudy.

I also wasn’t happy with the background. I moved that potato around looking for a less cluttered background. I finally settled on a spot and snapped the pictures. Four to be exact.

This is one of them.

tater

I don’t care for the image. It is over exposed and the potato doesn’t stand out the way I wanted it too. So I checked the other images.

This one came closer to what I wanted.

Close up of a sprouting potato.

It shows the growth I wanted to portray but, I was still dissatisfied. It’s an uninspired image of a potato. Big woop.

I opened the JPG in Paint to see if it could be salvaged and gasped. This is what showed up on my screen.

Click on the image to get the full effect.

very close picture of a new sweet potato leaf. Back lit.

Click the image.

When you make little things big, miracles happen.

I scrolled around the image and found what I was looking for. I always do when I look closer. What I thought I wanted was bigger. What I needed was minuscule by comparison, but it was exactly what I wanted. Enough.

I’ve been doing that with my life. Seeing the details. Those details are what makes up the whole.

If you are unhappy with your life. Look at it and see, not what you think is there, but what actually is.

Picture of a cat.

Recognizing the Messengers

I went for a walk this evening. A wander really. My only goal was to see what was around me. I’ve lived in the neighborhood for a couple years, but I’ve never explored it.

It was warm and I paused to study how the light played on a Neo-Roman church. I didn’t know there was a Neo-Roman architectural style, but that is what the sign said. Then I spotted a bed and breakfast with a beautiful garden out front. It was dark, but I could see enough to know I wanted to go back with my camera in daylight. I lingered reading their brochure and then moved on.

I studied the light coming through the stained glass windows of a church and decided that churches should never be empty or dark. Someone should always be available to give aid and solstice. As I passed by, I noticed they had a garden and made another mental note to visit it in daylight.

I walked on, but paused as the bells on the courthouse or some church in that direction started ringing. It was late for bells. Probably close to ten and I wondered at the significance and what kind of schedule they were on. I’ve heard them at other odd times as well. Maybe it’s God’s way of making us look up.

I contemplated an old filling station that had been renovated and thought that I would like to live in a little place like that. The long roof where the pumps used to be would make a perfect area for a shade garden and a chair.

I found a cross street to take me back toward my home. One I’d never been on and looked with concern at the old houses that were being neglected. Not to the point of falling down, but they needed a little TLC. They looked sad.

A little further on, I spotted a cat laying on the corner of a retaining wall. I have an affinity for kitties and always want to pet them. The dark tabby didn’t pay much attention to me until I spoke asking if I could.

I always ask cats. It’s only polite.

The cat didn’t look alarmed so I took a step toward it. It raised up to a sitting position and I paused.

“Can I pet you?” I asked again and it mewed. I took that as assent and took another step.

I curled my fingers into the soft fur behind the cat’s clipped ear and realized it had a bad case of fleas. The clipped ear and fleas told me it was a stray. The fat tummy told me it was good at getting food from somewhere. I chatted and pet it while it mewed back.

It was a sweet kitty and I lingered for quite a while, but eventually decided I needed to move on. I started down the street and it came with me. I paused petting it again and decided it probably didn’t get many snuggles or attention and no kitty should go without snuggles if they want them.

It looked up at me and I considered picking it up, but that’s just rude. Instead, I found a spot to sit and gave it the option of climbing into my lap.

The cat chose to ignore the offer and after more petting, sat on the stair purring behind me. It started washing and I decided it was a good time to continue my wander. The cat followed me, mewing and getting in front of me. I watched it, blocking my path and realized it didn’t want me to go that direction.

I looked up wondering if there was danger there, but couldn’t see anything but a quite city street. I listened to the message the cat was delivering even if I didn’t understand why. I turned, heading back the way I had come and the cat, who had been under foot, lingered before following me a few feet. As I walked, it fell further behind and I quickly lost view of it.

I wondered about why I needed to turn back, but didn’t have a clue until I rounded the corner for home. I smiled. Something large, dark, and angular was laying in the road ahead, though in the dark I couldn’t tell what it was.

I’ve known my purpose in life for a while. It is to clear the path for others and I recognized a confirmation of that in the obstacle blocking the road. This was the reason the cat wanted me to turn back.

No cars were close and I walked into the street to move what turned out to be an old charcoal grill. I righted it. A couple cars approached the intersection as I worked and I knew the cat would not be the only messenger this night. My act of working in the middle of that intersection in full view of both drivers was a message to them. Their purpose is to clear paths as well.

I picked up the pieces of the grill and wondered how many times those drivers would have messengers before they understood the message. Sometimes the messages are subtle. A stray, flea riddled cat with a clipped ear delivered mine.

I am much less subtle.

You have a purpose in life. Look for your messengers. They’ve been there all along. You just have to slow down long enough to see them.

Look for the connections.

Karma’s Emmisary

We are where we are, when we are and meet the people we do, for a reason. That reason is to either to teach something or to learn something.

As I write this post, I am a forty-two year old woman who has never been married or had children. My residence is in a major metro area and though I am surrounded by a dozen churches within a half mile of me, I have not set foot in a church for religious purposes in years.

Yet, I am deeply spiritual.

I know there is a higher power and that power is using me to make positive changes in the world around me.

I know this because I keep ending up in organizations with serious internal issues. Those issues lead to frustration and lots of it.

When I walk into a new organization, I come in with an open mind. I observe. I ask questions and I listen to people talk and oh my, how they talk. It amazes me what people will share with a virtual stranger. In less than ten minutes, they will not only tell me what the problem is, but how they would go about fixing it.

Talking with the employees gives me an amazingly clear view of the organization in a very short time. The source of the frustration is almost always one person in a position of power doing things that sabotage the organization and they don’t know they are doing it.

While I trace the source, The Divine puts me in a position to fix it.

I told someone I was Karma’s emissary. I said it as a joke, but I realized later, that is exactly what I am. I wander into an organization, figure out what the problem is and where it is coming from. Then I deliver a karmic head slap to get that person’s attention.

The first time I was aware of my role in Karma’s plan, that head slap was a doozy. It rocked the person on their heels and gave him a totally different perspective on his behavior. It began his journey back to the life path where he was meant to be.

She’s called on me again. Karma, I mean. I didn’t realize what was going on until I started writing this post, but it’s become clear in the time I’ve been working. My job is to open some eyes, to give a different perspective and to show people what their actions are doing to those around them. To guide them back to their life path.

When was the last time you sat down and just talked to the people in your organization? They know where the problems lay. The best part? They also know how to fix them.

Hold on to your dreams. They will light your way through the dark. Photo and quote by Katherine Parker notcrazyjustnutZ.com

Ancient Dilemma

I woke up in pain again and in that dark place in my mind. I was actually dreaming about my job. I haven’t sent the boss my notice yet and it is still weighing on me.

Giving up some of the shifts I’ve been working isn’t a big deal. If it was just that, I’d have shot off that email in a New York minute. No, the issue is bigger than that.

I have become aware that my employer has been shorting my paychecks and it isn’t a one time thing. I don’t believe they are doing it intentionally, but just the fact that it is happening is major cause for concern. The fact that it always happens in their favor makes it suspect.

My ancient brain functions have taken hold. Ug and Grunt keep telling me, “Confront boss, get fired. Fired bad. No confront boss.”

My modern brain responds with, “But they are required by federal and state law to pay me. I’m broke, I need the money. They can’t fire me, that’s illegal, too.”

Ug, or maybe it was Grunt, (I can’t always tell them apart), says, “Boss cut hours. Cut hours, no pay. No pay, no home. No home, bad. Must not lose home.”

Ug and Grunt like their creature comforts and for that matter, so do I.

I mentioned my concerns to a coworker and she took Ug and Grunt’s side and made it worse. “You should wait until you have another job lined up before you go to them.”

Well, crap. That is even worse than getting shorted on pay.

Ug said, “Applications stupid. No one read. Waste of time.”

Grunt nodded sagely and added, “Won’t get job anyway. Why you bother?”

I have experienced the application black hole on more than one occasion. My modern brain agrees with this argument.

What am I going to do? I want my money, but I don’t want to run the risk of being homeless. Good grief. I’m a single, white woman with no kids and I’m not pregnant. The government doesn’t recognize that I exist. I’ve been down that path before. It is brutal.

Then I realized what Ug and Grunt had been up to. The problem went from, “I need to tell my boss they are shorting me on pay checks” to “imminent homelessness and starvation.”

Those persuasive little fear mongers.

I pulled back and let my modern brain take over for a bit. Ug and Grunt gave me the worst case scenario. What is my best case?

The worst best case, is that I get my pay.

The over the top-Oh-my-God-I-don’t-understand-why-I-waited-so-long would be to get my pay and a little more for pain and suffering. After all. If I took this to the Department of Labor I would be entitled to my back pay doubled. The fact that this has been happening for so long, means that the employer could be fined.

The law reads:

Employers who willfully or repeatedly violate minimum wage or overtime pay requirements are subject to civil money penalties of up to $1,100 per violation.

If I take this to the boss and leave the Department of Labor out of it, I might be able to leverage some cash instead of the government getting the fines.

Hmm. That is a pretty good best case scenario. I do have a tax bill and a hospital bill. Not to mention the student loans that have been dogging me for decades.

The only problem with this scenario… if the employer is doing this to me, what are they doing to the other employees and how long have they been doing it? How do I help my co-workers get the money they are owed?

I have an idea, but it’s WAY outside my comfort zone. It’s down right audacious to my mind. I have some research to do, but I think I have it figured out.

I can hear Ug whispering, “Might get pay, won’t get extra.”

Grunt nods with tears slipping into his scruffy beard. “Me like food. Me like home.”

I have to go. I need to find the duct tape.

Have you had a problem with Ug and Grunt taking the worst case path? Did you get past them and how? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Let go and live.

Let Go and Live

I got up today with pain in my neck and shoulders. Something about the way I slept, I guessed. I worked a rough shift last night and went to bed exhausted, so it made sense. It was now three in the afternoon and as I stared at my coffee pot, I wondered, “Should I treat this like morning and do my daily ritual?”

I decided that I would and made myself a cup of coffee while I contemplated taking some Ibuprofen. I opted out of the pills and tried a little yoga. It made me hurt more so I stopped. I turned to the ritual I have developed over the past week.

A minute later I was sitting on the porch in my spot, drinking coffee, and looking at my notebook. That notebook is just a cheap stenography pad, but I’ve been making notes in it. Notes about my future. The one I want, not the one my brain wants me to settle for.

I flipped back to the first page and scanned each one as I went. I use this to get me thinking about my future instead of my now. As I did so, I noticed my pain easing.

I glanced up and studied a shrub next to the walk. Yesterday, I had taken some pictures of it after a rain. A thunder storm had just passed and it occurred to me that I might be able to get some better, or at least different, shots for use in my inspirational pictures.

I abandoned my coffee and grabbed my camera. I took a few pictures of that shrub, then looked for other bits of beauty to capture with my lens. I don’t know how long I took pictures, but the pain went away. I thought about it. One thought lead to many others and I came to the realization that it wasn’t the way I was sleeping that made my body hurt. It is the way I’ve been living.

The Divine was muted when I got up and I had noticed. As I looked for my next picture, the messages were coming through clearer.

When I got up, I had been thinking about my job. The parts I don’t like. The ones that make me cringe when I think about having to do them. I already decided that I am going to give up parts of it which will mean less money in the short term, but it will also mean less stress, annoyance, and complaints.

Letting go will allow me to focus on this blog and creating a web store where you can buy my images. I put off making the commitment yesterday. I though my perspective would be different in the morning. It wasn’t.

The changed needs to happen. I know this but, it scares me. Thanks to Dr. Robert Cooper, I know the fear is the part of my brain that was wired by my ancient ancestors. I can’t switch it off, but I can refocus my attention to ignore Ug and Grunt’s negative view of the world.

So today, I am going to let go of what hurts me and live my life without the pain.

Take one minute right now to think about your life. Is the way you are living causing you pain? What do you need to let go of to make the pain stop?

Vision: what is, what was and what could be.

Their Time

I never know what I’m going to write when I plant my butt in the chair. I have hundreds and maybe thousands of thoughts and ideas that could be developed into a blog post. I just came back from my morning walk and had so many thoughts rolling around in my head, that I didn’t want to take the time to cook breakfast. I made my coffee and grabbed a granola bar. I was that excited to write.

The only issue is, “Which idea gets written down first?”

I don’t spend much time thinking about that. As soon as my fingers touch the keys they start moving. I usually have a single sentence in mind when I start and it is seldom more than a vague idea. Many times where I think the post is going is not where it ends up. Writing that first version, inspires a second better version and I change the whole thing in favor of that new direction.

What inspired my blog today was all those thoughts. Those that I want to capture and convey to you, but there are so many, I never could. Even if I took only the thoughts I have today and never have another, I would not be able to write a blog for all of them. There are just too many.

I walked for an hour today with those thoughts, wandering really. Just looking for the next picture. The next place I haven’t seen or a new view of something I have seen. I spent this time with lots and lots of thoughts. Some of them are down right awe inspiring and pop into my head almost fully formed. Others need some development. I try to hold on to the good ones, to remember them later and it bothers me when I can’t. Then one of those thoughts put things in perspective.

It’s not their time.

I mulled that over. I could write about this thought or that, but I won’t and the reason I won’t is because it isn’t time. Not yet. I might never write about it, but I had the thought and I let it go. I released it like a balloon into the Collective Unconscious. I might get it back later, but I doubt it. I suspect it belongs to another. Someone who can release it when and where it needs to be and in a way that people will get.

Everything comes into existence exactly when it should. When I write a sentence and put it out into the world, it is because it is time. Time for someone, somewhere to read it. Time for that message to reach that person in that second when they are most open to it.

I have known for a while that I am a messenger. Someone put on this little lump of wet rock to give people a new perspective. To open their eyes.

If you are reading my blog, it’s because it’s time. Time for you to get a different perspective. Time for me to change your view of the world.

Maybe later, it will be time for you to change someone else’s view.

I am not the person I was yesterday. Tomorrow, I will not be the person I am today. I wonder how I will be better tomorrow? Katherine Parker notcrazyjustnutZ.com

Transformation: Step One

Motivated by my previously mentioned “constructive discontent” and having read the book Get Out of Your Own Way, among others, I have begun a transformation. You might have noticed one aspect of it in the fact that I am posting to my blog again.

The books I have read lately have directed me to figure out what I want more than anything in the world. The problem is, what I said I wanted and what I really wanted were hard to reconcile. I self limit…bad.

You can recognize your own self limiting if you start hearing things in your head like:
That’s stupid.
You can’t do that.
Have you lost your mind?
Okay, back to reality.
There is no way I’m gonna get that.

I started making a list of the things I wanted in my life. I started out small. Very small.

A new buckwheat hull pillow
Clothes that fit
To feel good about myself
Shoes that fit

Then I remembered a sign in my local coffee shop.

What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?

Feel free to share or pin. Photo by Katherine Parker

That is when I gave myself permission to dream. This is what I came up with in the same order I came up with it.

Happiness
Give presents to my friends
Help others
Fun
Spend Christmas somewhere the northern lights are visible.
Travel rural Japan
Travel through China
Travel Australia
Set my own schedule.
Spend an extended period on a coast overlooking the ocean
Explore Oregon and Washington
Get the other twenty-five states (I’ve been to twenty-five already)
Go back to Hawaii
Cross the equator

I found a theme in my list. Travel and lots of it. I realized, that is part of my Polaris Point.

What is your Polaris Point?

Grab a pen and notebook. Go ahead, this post will still be here when you get back. Don’t put it off. This could change your life forever.

Waiting

Back? Okay, now do this exercise.

Imagine you have just won five-hundred million dollars in the lottery. That is eight zeros and looks something like this: $500,000,000. In fact, it is half a billion dollars.

This money is sitting in your bank account right now. Imagine it. Feel it. Then answer these questions.

What would you do with the money?
What would you do with your life?
What would you do to help the world be a better place?

Dream big. After all, you no longer have to work for a living and you have enough money to buy and do anything you want.

Tell me on my Facebook page, what you would do.

Constructive Discontent

I have been experiencing what I will call “constructive discontent.” This is discontent that motivates me to change something instead of just biting random people. This discontent has motivated me to go to the library and checked out multiple self help books. One of those books is called Prosper: Create the Life You Really Want and another is called Get Out of Your Own Way: 5 Keys to Surpassing Everyone’s Expectations.

The first book, Prosper, talks a great deal about your Polaris Point. By Polaris Point, they mean the desires deep inside you that should be guiding every decision you make to get you where you want to be in life. This is your deepest internalized desire. What you really want out of life. The bad thing…most people can not verbalize it because they have never thought about it.

The authors, Ethan Willis and Randy Garn, define prosperity as:
MONEY + HAPPINESS + SUSTAINABILITY = PROSPERITY

I want prosperity. I think everyone wants prosperity once they figure out they don’t have it. So, I tried to figure out my Polaris Point using the guides in the book, but something just wasn’t right. I did a lot of thinking, but nothing clicked.

I switched to Get Out Of Your Own Way. I liked the title of the book because I have been aware for years that I am the only thing holding me back. I blame money or more specifically, the lack of money, but it’s me. All me. I am consistently making decisions that keep me where I am. Broke and discontent.

The author of Get Out of Your Own Way, Robert K. Cooper, Ph.D., talks about how the human brain is wired and he does it in a way that makes sense to me. Human society has changed dramatically in the past one hundred years, but we are working with the brain that developed back when Ug and Grunt were walking the Earth. Ug and Grunt’s need for survival in a rough and dangerous world wired the human brain in a way that made us very aware of the potential negative outcomes in any situation.

Fortunately for Ug and Grunt, this worked for them. They survived and because they survived, we exist. Unfortunately for us, the brain wiring that worked so well for them has become our biggest liability in the new world we created.

We as a society, and as individuals, focus on the potential worst case scenario and completely miss the potential best case scenario in any situation. This sets us up for failure, discontent, and random biting.

I have been just as guilty of doing this as anyone else. The failure and discontent, not the biting.

The problem is, as with any problem, you have to know you have a problem. You have to know you are letting the worst case scenario rule your world. Cooper talks about what triggers our worst case scenario responses. He also tells us what needs to be done to reprogram the brain to override the system Ug and Grunt created.

The observations clicked with me. I became aware of the way my brain is holding me back. I finally saw the problem in a way that also allowed me to fix it.

We, as poorly wired humans, get so tied up with the short term and solving the little problems of today, that we never give a thought to where we want to be tomorrow. Cooper calls this the “shoe top” perspective. Looking down at the top of your feet will tell you where to place your next step, but if you never look up to figure out where you are and where you are going, you are just moving.

Movement for movement’s sake is pointless. It accomplishes nothing, but we are still exhausted at the end of the day. Modern society has brainwashed us into believing we have to work to exhaustion. We might even take pride in the fact that we are tired. After all, being exhausted means we accomplished something. Or did we?

Did we actually accomplish something lasting or did we just get through the day? Think about your yesterday or even your whole last week. What did you do toward making your next year better?

For most people, the answer is nothing.

Leave a comment below and let me know if you have or are experiencing constructive discontent.

The Brain Damaged Goldfish

Years ago, when I was working a ‘real’ job, the movie Finding Nemo came out. I hadn’t seen it, but one of my coworkers told me I reminded her of Dory. When I finally saw the movie, I had to laugh. I could totally relate to… oh, look a butterfly.

Huh? Oh, sorry. What I was saying is, I have the attention span of a brain damaged goldfish. Want evidence to support that claim? Very well, here it is.

It takes me two hours to make and eat breakfast.

It goes something like this:

08:21:23 Turn on the computer. Get coffee beans from the cupboard.
08:22:04 Grind coffee beans and put them in the coffee machine. Add water and turn it on.
08:24:19 Turn on the computer to get music started, too quiet otherwise.
08:26:41 Get sidetracked reading forum posts.
08:57:31 Do some work.
09:05:12 Realize, I haven’t had my coffee. Grab my cup, but notice it’s dirty.
09:05:17 Look for a clean cup, but I only have two and the other one is dirty, too.
09:08:41 Figure out which one is less dirty. Follow the the Disgusting Dirty Dish Guidelines, to determine if it is too dirty to use with out washing. It isn’t. Use least dirty cup.
09:08:52 Sit down at the computer and read e-mail.
09:12:17 Remember I was getting coffee. Get sugar and add to dirty cup. Pour in coffee and milk.
09:13:01 Added to much milk now the coffee is cold.
09:13:53 Put coffee in the microwave and start it.
09:14:14 Do more work on the computer.
09:21:33 Realize I still don’t have my coffee. Look around, wondering what I did with it.
09:23:19 Found the coffee in the microwave. The coffee is cold, reheat.
09:23:46 Work on computer and listen for microwave ding. Get coffee and take first sip. Burn lip and tongue. Put coffee near the computer and start breakfast.
09:25:08 Find a frying pan.
09:25:30 Determine if frying pan exceeds the Disgusting Dirty Dish Guidelines. If it does, wash it. If it doesn’t, put it on the burner and pour in pre-cut onions and peppers. Light burner and go back to computer.
09:31:36 Notice the sizzling from the pan and stir.
09:31:59 Go back to computer.
09:36:15 Notice sizzling again. Add frozen hashbrowns to pan and stir.
09:38:48 Go back to computer.
09:46:48 Remember food in the pan, stir and look for dish to eat it in.
09:48:41 All the dishes are dirty, start looking for least dirty according the the Disgusting Dirty Dish Guidelines.
09:50:08 Find least dirty dish, but it’s disgusting. Wash the dish.
10:02:12 Stir peppers, onions, and hashbrowns. Add eggs and stir the mess together.
10:03:52 Work on computer.
10:06:54 Stir food. Put the food in the newly washed dish and sit down at computer.
10:09:46 Sip coffee, coffee is empty. Wonder when I drank it.
10:10:03 Make more coffee. Sit at computer and take two bites of breakfast.
10:13:16 Remember I wanted to make tea. Get up and find pan to boil water. It’s clean.
10:13:47 Wonder how that happened.
10:13:53 Fill the pan with water and set it on the stove to heat.
10:15:02 Go back to breakfast. My food is cold, so I put it in the microwave.
10:15:52 Work on the computer.
10:19:19 Water is simmering and reminds me to make the tea.
10:22:23 Remember the food in microwave. It’s still warm.
10:22:56 Eat breakfast while reading a funny story on computer.

You might laugh, but this is really how some of my mornings go.

Check back next week when I post the Disgusting Dirty Dish Guidelines.